Shutdown puts many furloughed workers in financial distress

By By Shan Li And Ricardo Lopez

Los Angeles Times (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 15 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

That pay is only approved “when the Senate passes it and the president signs it,” noted Gettmann, who also serves as the Treasury union’s chapter president for San Diego and Imperial counties. “Meanwhile, the mortgage is still due, the car payments are still due, everything is still due.”

But government workers might be getting some relief on their bills.

Major banks such as Wells Fargo & Co. and PNC Bank say they’re working with customers individually. Others, such as TD Bank, are offering no-interest payday loans.

On its website, JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it was ready to help on “financial challenges that might arise — much like we worked with our customers through Hurricane Sandy and tornadoes in Oklahoma.”

Many credit unions have gone even further to help.

Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the U.S., is expediting approval on raising credit card limits and letting members withdraw from certificates of deposit without penalties. Financial services firm USAA is offering payment deferrals and refunding some fees on credit cards and other services.

Pacific Marine Credit Union in Oceanside, Calif., plans to post payrolls for all affected members with direct deposit Oct. 15. If the government doesn’t come through, the payments will come out of the union’s own cash reserves, said Brad Smith, the vice president of strategic development. Depending on how much is left in the coffers, the union will consider making another payment two weeks later if the shutdown continues.

“We want to provide that peace of mind,” Smith said.

Smith, who worked at another California credit union during the 26-day shutdown in 1995 and 1996, said workers are suffering more this time around.

“There was a much different environment during the Clinton era. Back then it was unprecedented,” he said. “Now the government has a track record with furloughs and the sequester. It seems like every time you turn around, they want to run off the edge of a cliff.”

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©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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PHOTO (from MCT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): WRK-FURLOUGHS

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